The Waterview Tunnel is a key piece of the Western Ring Route, a 48km motorway route through the west of Auckland, connecting Manukau, the city, West Auckland and the North Shore. The 2.4km Waterview Tunnel between Pt Chevalier and Mt Roskill opened in July 2017, and cost $1.4b to build.


The Western Ring Route and Waterview Tunnel is a significant step in transforming the way people and freight move around Auckland and New Zealand. It represents the biggest change in travel patterns since the opening of the Auckland Harbour Bridge in 1959. 

Completing the Western Ring Route will create extra motorway capacity, ensuring thousands of vehicles can travel around the city. This will also free up local roads by transferring traffic onto the state highway network.

Opening such a large piece of transport infrastructure means travel patterns will change. Some areas will benefit from reductions in traffic, although Auckland’s growing population means traffic will still be heavy in some areas at peak times.

Download the location map. [PDF, 449 KB]


The Western Ring Route and Waterview Tunnel provide a second route through Auckland, bypassing the city, in addition to State Highway 1.  Completion of the Waterview Tunnel will also:

  • Provide more connections in the transport network, supporting growth and ensuring greater reliability and resilience.
  • Create efficient links to and from Auckland Airport, Ports of Auckland and inland freight hubs and will reduce the cost of doing business in Auckland and throughout the country. 
  • Generate more transport options including bus lanes, and walking and cycling connections.
  • Reduce traffic volumes on the key roads in the central Auckland area and along Great North Road travelling west. The local communities of Mt Albert, Mt Roskill and Mt Eden will benefit from reduced traffic on local roads.
  • Provide a direct motorway link between the central business district and Auckland Airport with traffic modelling predicting a shorter journey time from the city to the airport.

Tunnel facts

  • Tunnelling first began at Waterview in 2013. The first tunnel was completed in 2014
  • Alice – the Tunnel Boring Machine – excavated enough dirt to fill 320 Olympic-sized swimming pools and installed more than 24,000 concrete segments to line the two tunnels
  • Each of Waterview’s two tunnels is 2.4km long – twice the length of the Auckland Harbour Bridge
  • The tunnels are the longest road tunnels in New Zealand – the Lyttelton road tunnel at 1.97km previously held the record
  • The Tunnel Boring Machine was specifically designed for the Waterview geology by the German company, Herrenkencht, and manufactured in China.
  • The Tunnel Boring Machine was 87m long.
Waterview Tunnel fun facts and figures poster

For more tunnel facts check out this downloadable poster [PDF, 233 KB].

Inside the Tunnel

Fitting out the Tunnel has involved:

      • 74,500m3 of aggregate
      • Almost 5kms of drainage pipes
      • 104 flame traps.
      • 140,000m2 of paint has been applied – black for the roof, white for the walls
      • 4,000 lights
      • 62 ventilation fans
      • 50kms of cable trays to support wiring and other equipment
      • 400kms or 270tns of cabling and wiring
      • 5 deluge storage tanks each containing 250m3 of water for fire control. Each deluge set will supply 10mm of water per second inside each of the 173 zones of the tunnel. Each zone is located every 30 metres in the tunnels.

Maintenance of the tunnel

From time to time the Waterview Tunnel will require maintenance which may mean partial or full closure.

Any planned closure of the Tunnel will be advertised well in advance and generally happen between the hours of 10pm and 5am.

The detour route will be clearly marked.